Common good

The Great Digital Switch

When color television be­came popular in the 1960s, you could still use your old black-and-white set. When CDs took over the recorded music market in the 1980s, your vinyl would still play on your turntable. And while you can get only DVDs at Blockbuster or Netflix, your collection of old VHS tapes will still play just fine. But in February 2009, we face the first forced technological revolution that will actually render a whole category of devices—the analog TV set—utterly useless. That’s when all broadcast television will go digital, and any pre-digital television will stop working.

Obviously, this is a fabulous Christmas present for the Japanese companies that hire Chinese women to manufacture digital televisions for the American market. And it’s a major headache for U.S. landfill operators who will be dealing with all those discarded analog sets. But the switch to digital TV also provides a new opportunity for universal, affordable broadband Internet service all over America as the huge swath of broadcast frequencies previously occupied by analog TV become available for other uses. Unfortunately, the great digital switch also provides yet another window on what’s wrong with the way we’ve made communications policy in America for the past 25 years.

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine June 2008
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Good Times and the Common Good

After the great revival of conscience-laden rock events in 1985, it might seem today that the search for good times and the common good must again be carried out at the margins. The perception is not entirely accurate. Another star-studded Amnesty International tour is in the works, and a rockers' birthday tribute to Nelson Mandela took place in London's Wembley Stadium about the time this magazine hit the P.O. boxes. But the man-bites-dog novelty of such events has dissipated, and social consciousness has been integrated into the other concerns of pop music--i.e., love, dancing, commerce, and myth-making.

After the "Born in the U.S.A." tour's grand invocation of rock and roll as egalitarian community, Bruce Springsteen has pulled back to focus on the no-less-important business of building a marriage. On the Tunnel of Love album and in his current concert tour, Springsteen calls upon the same values of honesty, mutuality, and equality that fueled the sweeping populist gestures of his '84-'85 work. They are just worked out on the smaller scale of daily life.

It's a good career move. Springsteen doesn't want to be anyone's spokesperson or guru. To continue in a "political" vein, especially in another election year, might have irreparably limited his artistic scope. Besides, "The Boss" seems as humbled as any mere mortal by the promises and obligations of marriage. And humility is certainly a welcome and overdue addition to the rock vocabulary. The more danceable R & B-oriented rhythms on some of the Tunnel of Love tracks are also equally welcome additions to The Boss's '60s-fixated musical arsenal.

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Pages

Subscribe